Friday, April 18, 2008

Excusing Terrorism.

Also on Question Time, Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik referred to a claim by the Home Secretary that there are 2000 individuals involved in terrorist plots at any one time:
"If there are 2000 people trying to disrupt our lives, what is it that's wrong with government policy that makes so many people feel that disconnected in this country, that there's that level of terrorist threat. Getting 300 police officers is to completely ignore the lessons of Northern Ireland, in Northern Ireland we stopped terror by addressing... by dissolving the motives of terror, that doesn't mean you condone terrorism, you dissolve the motives, you go into communities and you make those communities feel part of the UK, you don't do that with 300 terror police"
First of all he is factually wrong, terrorism in Northern Ireland was curbed by extensive infiltration of the Sinn Fein IRA by the security forces. Personally I believe that successive UK and Irish governments had wanted to pander to republicans by pretending that they had legitimate political concerns, but until the IRA were defeated it was politically impossible to reward active mass murders.

Secondly the problem is only partly why so many people feel disconnected, after all many people feel dissconnected but very few use it as a justification to slaughter people en masse. So the question isn't why they feel disconnected but why they view that as an excuse to kill.

Thirdly despite his protests he is condoning terrorism, could you imagine him urging the government to respond to something he genuinely felt to be inexcusable, such as the BNP, by addressing the motives of those who support them? No me neither. The euphemism "trying to disrupt our lives" is a bit of a giveaway too.

Fourthly why does he assume that it is government policy that motivates the terrorists? Isn't it at least as likely that they are motivated by the intellectual climate created by people like himself dignifying the pathetic and self pitying rants of the terrorists as representing a serious point of view that needs to be addressed?

I recall that Opik was also on Question Time the week before the 7/7 bombings where he made a claim, which I'm recalling from memory, that the USA and UK invaded Iraq in order to steal their oil and that hundreds of thousands of muslims were being killed by us as a result. Does he not think that people in his position spreading conspiracy theories about the government murdering muslims in order to enrich themselves might just be a motive for terrorism?

1 comment:

Semaj Mahgih said...

Isn't it at least as likely that they are motivated by the intellectual climate created by people like himself dignifying the pathetic and self pitying rants of the terrorists as representing a serious point of view that needs to be addressed?

Closest to it I've seen, Ross.